Submarines and Cocaine: 56 Members of "Bandas Criminales" Indicted for Trafficking

More than 50 members of the Colombian "Bandas Criminales" (AKA BACRIM) drug-trafficking organization have been rounded up after a joint operation based out of Miami. It's the biggest bust of the emerging drug-trafficking gang since Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, took aim at bringing down the organization in February. The gang is most notable for using submarines to transfer drugs from Colombia to South Florida.

"Our... goal is simple," Ferrer said. "Target the BACRIM leadership, dismantle their narco-trafficking operations, and eliminate the threat they pose to the security of the region and the international community."

Twenty-six members were busted in a sting called "Operation Under the Sea." According to the release, those members "built and used fully submersible and semi-submersible submarines to transport cocaine from Colombia to Central America, with the ultimate destination being the United States."

Officials bagged 36 more gang members in a separate mission dubbed "Operation Seven Trumpets." They had used U.S. registered planes to transport cocaine from Columbia to Central America, particularly Honduras, with the intent of eventually putting that yayo on American streets.

If convicted, all 56 people arrested could face up to 60 years in jail.

"These indictments are an excellent example of the results that the partnership between the United States and Colombian law enforcement can produce," DEA special agent in charge Mark R. Trouville said. "The Drug Enforcement Administration is committed to continuing these efforts and expect to see the downfall of BACRIMs, just as our past joint efforts eliminated other large-scale Colombian-based drug-trafficking organizations."

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